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What’s hot this year at the Consumer Electronics Show (access required)

Frank Gorman of Gorman & Williams is back in Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show. And, just like last year, he's graciously offered to write a few dispatches about his trip. The following is an overview of CES, which concludes Friday. Gorman co-wrote this with Mike Yang, counsel to Micro Focus and a former colleague who is also attending CES. (The views expressed below are Yang's, not those of Micro Focus.) For attendees, traveling light with comfortable shoes is a must. Over 2,500 companies are showing products and services throughout 1.8 million net square feet of exhibitor space. There are 15 miles of aisles to walk with lots to see and touch. Propelling most of the innovations are products from a company that is not a CES exhibitor: Apple. The iPhone and the iPad, and to a lesser extent their progeny from other manufacturers, are being used for applications across the board. Companies showing iPad and iPhone-compatible accessories abound, and compatibility with these “smart” devices appears to be a key selling point. CES also has a variety of educational conferences, covering topics from privacy concerns to copyright infringement to the “spectrum crunch” threatening the expansion of the wireless economy. There are keynote speakers from leading tech companies, such as YouTube and Qualcomm , who assess their industries and predict the future. Steve Ballmer was the kickoff keynote speaker, even though Microsoft announced last month that it will not be back to CES next year. Here are a few of the product areas that are generating excitement at CES this year: Automobiles Six auto manufactures are displaying electronic technologies in their new models — Ford, Audi, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler and Hyundai. (OnStar, a GM subsidiary, has a booth for its service as well, though GM is not showing any of its vehicles.) They are incorporating into the dashboard electronic access to navigation, music, news and information by syncing with the driver’s smartphone with systems supporting both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems.